Are you ready for the Final Countdown toward 2016?
These tasks are supposed to help us all begin the new year a bit more organized, a bit more motivated, and feeling like we’re getting off to a good start on the year ahead.
I try to choose things that I need to do my ownself, because I usually attempt one big last-ditch effort at the end of the year to get some loose ends wrapped up before the new year starts. I always feel like I’m behind. Is it just me?
If you’ve been organizing with me all year, we should all be a little further ahead than we were a year ago, but these last three tasks are a bit more in depth, and are meant to make you think a little harder, and maybe regroup and make progress toward starting 2016 out fresh.
Are you ready?
Our first task is:
Mine is way out of control, even though I worked on it a lot this year. How’s yours?
This task is intended to make you examine it a bit closer, and take action on what you find. Just because you’ve always kept it a certain way, does not mean you have to continue to keep it that way. Let’s look at it with fresh eyes . . .
Do you like the way you have it stored?
I have mine in big tubs, and the tubs are stacked under my cutting island. I like having it stacked under my cutting island because it’s within easy reach of where I use it, but I don’t like how I have it stored. It needs to be even easier.
Do you like the way you have it sorted?
Or do you even have it sorted at all? I have mine sorted by color, in six color groupings. I’m debating whether I need more than six groupings, and if I should also have a separate grouping for things like novelties, solids, reproductions, etc. As I go through each bin, I’ll be able to gauge if this is even necessary based on what I have. As I go through each bin, I’m also refolding the parts I’ve messed up from riffling through them, and arranging them from darks to lights within the bin as best I can. I’ll show you one of my bins further down in the post. Do you have a preferred way to sort your fabric? By size? By color? By type? Do you like it that way? Or is it time to change it?
Do you like all the fabric you have?
Do you even want to continue storing it at all? Or do you need to get rid of what you don’t like to make room for more fabric that you DO like? Or simply to make more room period? I’m all about getting things pared down a little in the interest of having more clear space in my studio (and in my house in general, really). I’m pulling out pieces I no longer want. I’ll be taking them to my guild meeting to give away, and what doesn’t get taken will get donated elsewhere or recycled. You could even host a destash sale online, if you have lots you’re wanting to part with.
Do you like the system you have, but aren’t working it like you want to?
I store a lot of my scraps in pre-cut sizes, but I fall behind on doing that pre-cutting sometimes. I need to devote some time to that part. I also need to make a habit of dealing with it regularly, so that it doesn’t become a mountainous problem! More on how I’ll be doing that below.
Have you seen a system you’d like to implement, but haven’t taken the time to implement it?
Maybe now is the time to start putting a completely new system to work for you. Take the parts you like best from several different systems and combine them into what works best for your own particular situation.
I want you to look at your stash as if you’re looking at someone else’s stash, and be honest with yourself about how it’s working (or not working) for you, and decide if you like your method, or if you need to get out of a rut and come up with a new system for yourself, or simply make a few tweaks to the system you already have.
As for me, I like some parts of my system, but other parts not so much, so I’m making a few changes. I may not get my entire stash reorganized by January 4th, but I intend to have a real good start on it.
I want to know what fabric I already have as I go into next year, I’d like to know where I’m lacking in the event I come across a good stash-building opportunity (aka sale), I want to get rid of the fabric I no longer want, and I want easier access to be able to use what I’m keeping.
To help us all out, I’m providing some pictures, suggestions, and links below — keep reading!
Here’s how my stack of bins currently looks. Some of the lids don’t even fit on the cartons because they’re too full and bulging. It’s a well-known fact that if air hits the fabric, it expands; so even if it all fit before, if you’ve opened up the bin, you’re out of luck! You can also see that the fabric is just crammed into them, and not folded any specific way.
Furthermore, my bins are not all alike, so they don’t stack real neatly. My first order of business is to gather up all the bins I have that are the same size and type, and rearrange what’s in them so that I can use all the same ones for stacking under my cutting island, and use the others elsewhere (or get rid of them). Here’s the type I’ve chosen, because I think I have enough of these that are all alike:
Next, I’m going through each bin, making sure everything is folded neatly enough in the bin for me to see what I have. Then, when I want green, for example, I can pull out the green bin and easily look through it to see if I have what I need. See below for links to different methods of folding your fabric.
I’m also pulling out all the smallest bits and pieces and putting them in a pile to pre-cut for my pre-cut bins (the lids of which are also bulging because they’re too full).
As I go, I’m sorting by color, to see if it’s actually necessary to make more than six groupings, or if I can sort within groupings well enough that the ones I currently have will work. I’m also pulling out pieces for the giveaway pile.
I have a bin of my red fabrics done, and so far, I think I’m on the right track, and I really like it. Isn’t it pretty?
I also have these cute little chalkboard labels I’m putting on each bin, so I can tag what color is in each one. I’ve just been eyeballing and guessing which bin holds which color because I can sort of see through them, but this will leave no doubt, and hopefully be quicker when I’m grabbing from now on. I got my labels on Etsy.
Here are some links to fabric folding methods, if you want to have your fabric folded neatly in whatever storage container you’ve chosen:
The method Jeni uses is the one that is closest to what I do. I try to fold everything to the same size, no matter what size piece I’m starting out with, and her method is easy.
Here are some decorative ideas for storing fabric if you have only a small area and a relatively small stash (I love the dresser-without-drawers idea): Craft Room Organization.
One of my goals is to also make it a regular habit to work on organizing my scraps, so that first I can get them under control, and then never let them get out of control again. So my first effort is going to be working on getting my fabric stash under control for 30 minutes a day. I’m going to do this for one month, and see where I’m at. After a month, I might be able to go to just 15 minutes a day, 30 minutes three times a week, or some other chunk of time. Or . . . I might find that I need to continue 30 minutes a day for the rest of the year!
To help myself keep this habit on track, I made this handy-dandy little habit tracker to keep in my planner notebook:
I’ve made it into a free downloadable PDF file, so if you’d like to use it, too, just click HERE to download it, print it out, and set to using it. You can use this for any habit you’d like to develop into a regular thing. There’s a 30-day tracker, and a 52-week tracker, for a habit you only want to perform once a week, yet still make it a weekly habit, such as putting money into a savings account. I’m using mine for habits I want to develop in several areas (exercise being one of them). It’s a bit more motivating to get to check something off a list, and then see how many times you can check it off the list without missing a day (or a week).
So . . . I hope some of these ideas have helped, and you’re able to see your fabric stash with new eyes, so you can set up a system for yourself that will make it easier for you to access it and use it during this next year. Maybe you already have the perfect system for yourself, in which case, you’ve got it made for this task!
I truly believe that keeping the fabric stash in line is an ongoing task, especially if you’re using out of it and adding to it periodically, which you should be, right?
Be sure and leave a comment below to let us all know how you’re doing with this task. Tell us what your method is, and if you have any other good ideas for how to deal with this issue, please share. I’m sure we’d all welcome additional tips and tricks for keeping the stash tamed!
You may not get this one completely finished by the 4th, either, but if you at least have a plan, and you’re working on it, that’s good enough. I know this is a tough one, but for me, it’s kinda necessary. Is it for you?
Get to work on your stash, and I’ll be back tomorrow with Final Countdown Task #2!